Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Whatever Wednesday - Sly Stone Memoir

 It's a Family Affair, Everyday People, Dance to the Music, Higher, Stand, Hot Fun in the Summertime, and more. The 1960s and 1970s - Sly and the Family Stone electrified Woodstock and the world. Sly Stone's influence on modern music and culture is indisputable. Now his memoir, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again) relates the ups and downs and ins and outs of his amazing life.  (cover blurb)

The man is now eighty one years old. Holy Cow! When you read this book, you'll be amazed he's still alive after years of addiction, jail time due to tax and child support issues, and a dizzying career. Radio DJ, record producer, musician (multiple instruments) - he was a key to  the San  Francisco 1960s music scene. 

Sly Stone tells his story with humor. He's honest and playful, sharp and blunt, emotional and analytical, always moving and never standing still.  (cover blurb). 

Key statement in book: Music, just music. It's been that way from the start. I don't want to get in people's way and I don't want them to get in my way. I just  want to play my songs. I  would do it for nothing. 

Play the  soundtrack and read the memoir. Flash back to a funky time in music history. And try to keep your feet from can't!

Monday, January 29, 2024

Monday Moments - The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

 The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger is a very entertaining read. I bought it for one dollar at the local library used book sale - a real deal.  

Crystal, CO is the place to  raise children. With a very fine school district, the stakes are raised when an even more elite school is proposed. Kids must test in and also produce a portfolio of their specialties. This middle school will be tops and suddenly the competition amongst long time friends/neighbors becomes fierce. 

Cracks form. Kids are pitted against each other. Parents secretly pursue prestige and recognition.

 cover blurb - Long buried resentments arise between friends and spouses alike, as ever more toxic instincts emerge. The most shattering secret of all still lies waiting to be exposed. 

The characters are sharp. The dialogue crackles and tensions rise. This book is hilarious, brutal, and way too real. It provokes, skewers, and tackles parenting and privilege. Kudos. You will keep turning  pages and gasp as friends attack friends. 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Finally Friday - Bonnard's World

another part of a Sunday art stroll involved the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. Just a stunning museum with amazing exhibits. Bonnard's World did not disappoint. 

Pierre Bonnard, first famous starting in 1890, he explored almost a new version of impressionism based on the influences of Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. His color treatments and use of light were innovative - almost rivaling his pal Henri Matisse
This exhibit is not by date, it is by category. The landscapes - often a point on a hill above the target (a home, a village). Windows - a view within a view. Patterns of light and color with a mix of composition.  Dining and Living - meals, a chandelier, fruit, or an open cupboard. Bonnard's worked invited you into the kitchen and a meal.  Bedroom and Bath - He met Marthe in the 1890s and did not marry until 1925. She was his muse - a modern women performing the rituals of bathing, dressing, strong in  her own body. 

The colors in this collection glowed in the galleries. I loved the compositions, the landscapes, and the views of Pierre Bonnard. The Kimbell honors a very special artist with this exhibition. Glorious!

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Whatever Wednesday - Lauren Graham's Latest Book

 A very sweet Christmas gift from a fellow Gilmore Girls fan - Julie gave me Have I Told You This Already? by Lauren Graham. 

Quick patter, sharp humor, relatable, and hilarious.  This book is a very fast read. I tried to slow down and savor it, but Lauren Graham kept drawing me in with her very relatable stories.  She's a modest star, always comparing herself and her acting situations to those super stars who were prettier, thinner, "better".  Nonetheless, Lauren Graham made IT with Gilmore Girls. 

Still, she had to work  hard. She gives us a lot of behind  the scenes look into Hollywood. She's funny and your newest best friend. 

This book is a quick wry read. Her essays are hilarious and filled with advice too. Aging gracefully in Hollywood is a full time job and this book is witness to her success.  Thanks Julie for a great present. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Monday Moments - Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

cover blurb:   It is August 1974 and a tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between towers. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in Colum McCann's stunning portrait of a city and its people, connected in ways they don't even know. 

Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence - awakening in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal. 

Very good writing. Interesting characters. I enjoyed some storylines. Others -  I was able to put down  the book a bit before returning. I found the flow a bit choppy, but ultimately got my reading rhythm. The author definitely captured New York City - the underbelly, the different boroughs, the toughness and vulnerability of its citizens. 

Indeed - the book has a sad innocence when one  reflects on the Twin  Towers that stood tall for so long and tempted Phillipe Petit to  tiptoe across his wire.

And the world does keep spinning, seemingly no matter what occurs. 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Finally Friday - Sing The Color Purple

 The latest iteration of The Color Purple is too long.  Edit  Edit  Edit

However, I did like it and was entertained. Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982. A movie adaptation was done by Stephen Spielberg. Then a Broadway musical sprung from that movie. And now full circle - this is a movie adapted from the Broadway show.  It follows the story of Celie (Fantasia Barrino) from 1909 to 1947 in dirt poor Georgia. It's a tale of abuse, sisterhood, racism, and forgiveness. That's a simplified sentence for all that the movie shows through excellent acting and song. I loved Danielle Brooks as Sofia and her song "Hell No" is an anthem of strength, power, and not giving in. What a voice!

Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery has the showiest role and does a good job. Colman Domingo as Mistah is the villain in this tale and he's solid in the role. Fantasia as Celie reprises her Broadway role and is suitably innocent, strong, vulnerable, and has a unique voice. The production is rich. Just a bit of editing please.  Alice Walker's book deserves the attention. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Whatever Wednesday - Memory Map

 I enjoyed a Sunday stroll at the Modern Museum of Fort Worth for a retrospective of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map. She is a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation.  Five decades of drawings, prints, paintings, and sculpture are fascinating to see. Abstract concepts pull together with satire and humor to tell stories of the Native ideology. She questions why "certain  visual languages attain  recognition, historical privilege, and value." (brochure). 

She has been active in issues and pressing dialogue through art on land, racism, and cultural preservation. (brochure). 

I was in awe as I studied her work. Her brain must never stop. Her work is deep and pulls in  from all styles. I watched a short film and appreciated her history and her eagerness to embrace the land to learn and grow her culture. Very impressive exhibit and I was happy to learn about this artist and her stunning body of work. 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Monday Moments Movie Review - The Boys in the Boat

In theaters now, director George Clooney does an excellent adaptation from the book The Boys in the Boat.  The two hours fly by faster than a coxswain can shout at his crew. I did read the book (based on a true story) a long time ago and was very happy with this presentation. 

It's the Depression and Joe Rantz (Callum Turner) isn't sure how he can stay at the University of Washington. He's stuffing newspaper in his shoes and living out of a dead car. There's a tryout for junior varsity crew and it gives room and board. What the heck. He proves capable and is picked by Coach Ulbrickson (Joel Edgerton) for a ragtag group of eight guys who have to learn to work together and row a winning boat. It's hard work, involves a lot of teamwork and the stakes are high. 

Back in 1936, crew is a huge competitive sport. First they have to beat California, and then aim for the Ivy Leagues back east. They have to beat the varsity for a chance at a regatta. Then the big goal is Berlin - 1936 Olympics - USA team versus European elite, especially Germany under the eye of Hitler.

I enjoyed the pacing of the movie, the actors, and the spirit. I found myself huffing and puffing with the crew, urging them forward. This is a feel good story about hard work, heart, and a team. I highly recommend seeing it in the theater.  

Friday, January 12, 2024

Finally Friday - Trip the Light Fantastic

Japanese gardens

 More Japanese Garden area. I don't even have pictures of the best part. When you first entered the gardens, they had a zillion little green dots of light. It looked like fireflies. Fog machines spewed mist over the ponds and the lighting fragmented. Truly ethereal. 

If there's a Lightscape production at any gardens near  you at any time- buy tickets and go. Well worth the trek. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Whatever Wednesday - Oh the Lights

Enjoyed the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens Lightscape in December. Ray and I took our time strolling through the magical showcase. Gave Ray too many ideas. I did say it's cheaper to pay admission here, then to try to recreate it in our own backyard. 
Our ladders don't reach high enough
The lights were fantastic in the wooded areas

 More to come in another post.  Frankly, I felt sorry for families hauling kids in wagons through the course. The kids lacked interest - they just wanted  to play with the light-up  candy cane swords the parents bought at concession  stands. 

Ray and I could  take our time, stop and look up and back for all the views and color changes. 

We were the true kids at heart. 

Monday, January 8, 2024

Monday Moments - Pure Imagination

Greetings - Enjoyed  Wonka on the big screen during  the Christmas holidays. It's a prequel to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story (by Roald Dahl), and it is amusing. I think I liked it more than Ray. 

Timothee Chalamet plays Willy Wonka with a wide eyed wonder. He does a very good job  and has a pleasant light voice for the musical numbers. He plays delicate, sensitive, and innocent well. Armed with mad chocolate skills he learned  from his late mother, he's ready to become a real chocolatier. 

 However, the secret cartel of chocolate makers will do anything to stop Willy. With perseverance, pluck, and clever friends plus an Oompa Loompa (hilarious Hugh Grant), Willy is wily and surprises await. 

Wonka is colorful and very entertaining for big screen viewing. It's different in a good way, and yes, I wanted some magic truffles at the end. 

Friday, January 5, 2024

Finally Friday - Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard

 High  school friends, Tracy, Olivia, and  Holly were the Godmothers. Their bond survived years. Now they reunite for a luxury sailboat ride in the Caribbean.  Tracy's college age daughter joins the group. With a two man crew they sail into paradise.   (Cue the Jaws like theme forbidding music). 

A small mistake triggers devastating mistakes. These women must battle the elements, modern day piracy, and their own history. 

Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard is a spellbinding adventure and a story about the bonds that hold friend to friend and mothers  to daughters, and how facing our own mortality tests the truth of everything we know. 

Good story. Rich characters.  The author kept  the pages turning. I was worried, concerned, and cared  about these women. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Whatever Wednesday - Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a very fun and entertaining read. I did figure out the twist before the end and that was okay. 

Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell her story - a glamourous and scandalous  life. She summons an unknown reporter, Monique Grant, to write  this tale. Why? 

Monique is fascinated. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Evelyn was ambitious, ruthless, and had a forbidden love (amongst seven husbands)   Who knew? 

This is a splendid journey through  old  Hollywood.  The author spins quite a tale and intertwines two women's stories so that  both face quite a truth. 

Monday, January 1, 2024

Happy New Year

Rangers won  the freaking World Series in 2023

Wow - do you know how long we have attended really stinky Ranger games? 

Like, forever. 

this batch of guys truly played as a team. 

So fun!

Ray's my sunshine.  We have SO much fun. Here's to more crazy in 2024
Philly Soul

Yep.  Yo!
Every year....

Do not forget Ukraine.  The folks are battling on the front line against Russia.  Read history. Look at WWII.  OMG.  
Exactly.  I've been away from the typewriter (i.e. keyboard).  But every walk has a poem.  Every calm moment I'm thinking.   Hmm. 

 And yes, I told  Ray in bold text to attend  the Rangers WS parade. Even 1500 miles  away he listens  to me.  

Love you Ray. Here's to a healthy, happy 2024.  Where will we go?  What will we do? 

Stay tuned. 

I  wish everyone a very Happy New Year.  Stay safe.  Stay kind. Stay sane.